There’s a ‘turn’ occurring in the travel world, a turn that directly relates to two kinds of travelers — those seeking to say ‘been there, done that’, with a check off their bucket list, and those seeking to dive into authentic experiences which the given culture of the chosen destination holds and offers.

The first, the bucket list crowd, is millions deep. There are reasons people travel this way — not the least of which is economics. ‘If I can at least say I’ve been there … if I can at least go … it’s better than not at all.’ And, it is.  Especially now with the long haul shuttle fares out with Norwegian and WOW. It’s a mind bender to wake up in a foreign culture with foreign everything from language to systems to transportation, to money –all of it — hitting you in the face to reconcile – immediately!

Throw jet lag at the onset of a whirlwind  10-day trip, and the recipe holds an added dimension of deep fog — and potential added frustration.

Still, bucket list travelers have large and popular tour groups which exist to handle their numbers — and they handle them well. It’s a well-lubricated machine with very happy customers – because these travelers – perhaps you – find it’s just the right package for your wants and needs. And, for solo travelers just entering ‘the fray’ for the first time, and starting with a bucket list? BRAVO! 

There is also a growing wave of folks who want to ‘sit in the fields of’ or spend longer so they can absorb a Thai sunset or a measured long walk in the Sussex  Downs — and so, build time into their travel. Sometimes, not always, that costs more. Some travelers are savvy and want to ‘foot it’ on their own ‘come what may’ — and others want the TLC, security and actually comaraderie of a small group. Like-minded’s generally find one another which when it happens, creates an exponentially shared experience.

Bucket list folks? Less time is given to stop and smell the roses. But it has its own elations.

Immersive travelers? They like to ‘expand time’ in their visits … to sit back, slow dine, absorb the sacred — you get the idea.

If you go in *thinking* you want to immerse, want to take the time to expand out into the experience but you’re on the clock of a bucket list tour … frustration.

If you go in *thinking* you get to immerse because … well, perhaps you’re visiting relatives or friends and expect certain outcomes, perhaps your dream-state dream has you discovering it isn’t actually working in reality because, well, you don’t have time or space to truly unwind … frustration.

For me personally, I’ve done both styles. But one fine day I had enough of being outside the cultures I was loving; I wanted to be inside. Which meant I had to shift my approach and my priorities.

Jumping in? Head first?  Nothing like it.  It’s full of challenges … frustrations … complete unknowns … and quiet gains that carve out ‘the essential you’ … what matters … and what doesn’t. You get to know yourself exponentially.

Just so you know, all over Europe, but France-specific, there are chateaux who welcome visitors wanting work-exchange for a week or longer — the propriétaire seeking help with some project in exchange for a bed and meals. They usually advertise in-house or on their websites – like Chateau de Gudanes. Enjoy dreaming that one in!

Then, there’s a website dedicated to  a whole TRIBE of people who want to earn their keep for variable amounts of time. Check it out at

A third is  Another tribe who also are  vetted to be house sitters for others who are either leaving for an extended period or who have a second home and don’t want it empty all the time.

Last but not least there are the lucky relatives and friends associated with someone who own property in THEIR preferred destination, who have the opportunity to visit or immerse as they like!

The point is, know your priorities. Set course to sail from those.